Random reading from the library.

Lewis Man, by Peter May caught my eye on a display in the Abingdon library. I am reading a longish biography of three historical characters, and a book about English Wildlife, so I thought, “Ah, an easy, quick, undemanding read.”

I had never read anything by this author as far as I remember; I’ve only been logging my reading for a year and a half here (and now on Goodreads too, but without comments) after having a three years list on a doc. that was only on a hard drive that died.

Peter May is good. How did I miss him! That is one of the joys of serendipitous browsing among paper books in libraries or local bookshops: we have a lovely one here called “Mostly Books” which also has a book blog.

Anyway. After reading this I almost feel as if I had been to the “storm-lashed island three hours off the north-west coast of Scotland.” As Peter May has been a screenwriter and worked in T.V. I would not have expected this mastery of descriptive writing. The complex mystery plot is filled with credible characters- the old mystery figure central to the story will linger in my memory and even make me more sympathetic to the frail and senile: old,old people who have lived strange or adventurous lives we will never know.

I feel as though this book, like many others I have read was a gift from the author and from the library. Match that Amazon books!

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4 Responses to Random reading from the library.

  1. jenjen999 says:

    I sometimes think that browsing distracts us from a structured, discilplined approach to reading, People of faith have a concept of ‘spiritual exercises’ which, from my non-faith background rather fits in with my view that intellectual exercise should be part of our daily practice. I like to do three basic things every day – read, exercise (usually running) and create (painting or drawing is my current one) and these tend to impact on my belief that we should have structure and focus in our lives. All form part of a meditative inner life; Socrates ‘The life which is unexamined is not worth living.’ I also see a daily journal entry (which includes books read) as a part of the process. Of course, there is the life we all live in the external world – time with friends, family, duty, work (paid, domestic or unpaid), obligation, food, drink, and general social engagement.

    Which brings me to Peter May. I like the Lewis Trilogy but rather feel his gifts are wasted on crime. The last in the series is really about the relationship between past and present, written with a lot of understanding – but is somehow spoiled by an amazingly over-dramatic ending. Not wishing to spoil it but it gives a new view of a Minister of Religion! The use of ‘old people’ in detective fiction is rather common – think of the positive view of elderly spinsters in Christie’s Miss Marple novels, or the writer as a very old woman in the case of P.D.James!

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  2. Marianne says:

    I read this one a while back. In the U.S. it is called the Black House. I am waiting for the next book to be published here. Great story with a marvelous setting. I loved the Ian Rankin books and I would rate Peter May as good as Rankin. I think this book really exemplifies setting as character.

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  3. readingmater says:

    I clearly need to read more of Peter May’s. I agree with jenjen that the over-dramatic ending and the murder mystery aspect were the things I liked least about it. As Marianne says the setting and/as character works beautifully.
    About browsing – I try to read something meaty some of the time and enjoy a lighter story some of the time. I usually have one slow-read going and one easier read going though my record was, I think, eleven, all of which I was in the middle of. And daily structure? Thinking-praying, reading, fixing meals, walking and/or biking on daily errands or wandering, knitting. These I do whatever else is going on, and whoever I am with. Oh, plus Facebook and blogs to see photos of my loveable grandchildren!

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  4. ahuntca says:

    love the last sentence… blessings!
    ps just read your comment, ” I usually have one slow-read going and one easier read going … And daily structure? Thinking-praying, reading, fixing meals, walking and/or biking on daily errands or wandering, knitting. These I do whatever else is going on, and whoever I am with. Oh, plus Facebook and blogs to see photos of my loveable grandchildren!” sounds almost monastic in it’s simplicity. The challenges of the last month suggest that I would be better off cutting back to a pace such as this, but I am not there yet… while my life of late has been nearer that than it has ever been, (except during the days of the broken arm and nerveless arm) I know that I think of it more as a vacation from my real life rather than a life I might live… blessings!

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